If there is one team that has had a depressing offseason thus far, it would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. After becoming used to making it to the NBA Finals with LeBron James leading the way, things will be changing in a big way this coming season. James is no longer playing for his hometown team after signing a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Cleveland is left with a core of Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Jordan Clarkson, and George Hill from last year’s team. Tyronn Lue will have a lot of work to do in order to keep the Cavaliers in playoff contention.
Bleacher Report took a look at some moves that the Cavaliers could still make before the offseason ends. One of those moves that they suggest making is trading either J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson.
“The Cavs have to slowly get younger and open up more minutes for players like Sexton, Osman, Hood, Nance, Ante Zizic and Preston. Moving players like Smith and Thompson now (with Love and Korver later in the season) would be a good start.”
Smith and Thompson simply do not have a future in Cleveland. After Smith’s blunder in the NBA Finals last season, he is already viewed as one of the main reasons James left town. Thompson, on the other hand, went through a major cheating scandal on his girlfriend Khloe Kardashian late in the year last season, which brought even more drama into the locker room.
Both players are talented and would find some interest on the trade market, but keeping them around would not be in the best interest for Cleveland.
Thompson ended up having a rough all-around season in 2017-18, averaging just 5.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Smith, on the other hand, averaged 8.3 points per game. Neither player was able to provide James with the kind of support that he needed on either end of the court.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what direction the Cavaliers decide to go. Dan Gilbert has talked a big game about keeping Cleveland in championship contention even without James. While that would be a nice thing for the city, there is simply no way the Cavaliers can compete for a title with their current roster.
Expect to see the Cavaliers gauge trade value on a few of their veteran players. As the article states, the team needs to be opening up minutes for young players.
Neither Smith nor Thompson is in the team’s long-term plans and it’s time to search for a trade partner that would be interested in acquiring either one of them.